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St Kitts and the ABCs--where to dive for first time back in the water?

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I'm a PADI-certified diver but haven't been in the water (embarrassingly) for about nine years.  We have a cruise on Celebrity Summit booked over Thanksgiving and I'm thinking about trying a dive again.  Of course I'd be taking a refresher course before the cruise.

Our ports of call are St. Kitts and the ABCs.  My husband isn't interested in diving, but wants to do some snorkeling, so we've booked with Woodwind for our day in Bonaire.  I'm hoping I didn't mess up by choosing that day for snorkeling versus scuba.  I can change our snorkeling day, but Woodwind gets great reviews so I thought that would be a good option we could both enjoy.  Opinions on where to snorkel are welcome as well  🙂

 

Any recommendations on where would be a good spot based on our remaining ports to get back in the water?  X offers scuba excursions in Aruba and Curacao, but I think I will probably book with a local shop based on the information so many of you have kindly provided on the board.

Thanks for any information/opinions anyone can provide.

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The good news is, all four are ports where you should be able to enjoy great diving that is not unduly challenging. 

 

I think you're wise to steer away from the ship excursions.  I've seen the operator the ships use in Aruba (Red Sail Sports) and they are definitely "cattle boat" diving. 

 

St. Kitts and Aruba are boat diving (Aruba can be shore diving, but boat diving gets you to the nicer sites).  Both have a lot of great diving at moderate depths (less than 60 feet).  Curacao and Bonaire are typically shore diving spots. 

 

I've had excellent experiences on all four islands:

 

St. Kitts:

 

Pro Divers St. Kitts does a nice job, and operates out of themarina immediately adjacent to the ship's dock, so no transportation issues whatsoever.  ( https://prodiversstkitts.com/ ).  There are interesting wrecks there at those shallow depths, and wrecks you can enjoy without the need for penetration.  These are haven's for a lot of good reef life. 

 

Aruba:

 

Jeffrey Kost, at Happy Divers Aruba is great.  Never more than 6 divers on his boat.  He provides port pick-up and return.  He's as friendly as a Dutch guy can be.  There the Arashi Reef, and Antilla Wreck are favorite dives of mine.  Again. the depths are moderate, so you you should be able to have an enjoyable return to diving.  ( https://happydiversaruba.com/wp/ )  Fair warning, Jeffrey can be slow to return emails, so be patient. 

 

Some history on the Antilla Wreck:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Antilla_(1939)

 

Bonaire:

 

I really like diving with VIP Diving.  Some people don't because their booking policy is that they retain 100% of the required pre-payment if you don't dive, including if the ship misses the port.  If you have travel insurance this shouldn't be a concern, but it is something to be aware of.  They will pick you up at the port for a day of shore diving in which you select which sites on the island you want to dive, based upon your level of experience, and your particular interests.  If you pick sites on the northern end of the island you basically get an island tour included with your day.  The price includes nitrox, as long as you're nitrox certified; so you may want to take the nitrox course at the same time you do your update class.  ( https://vipdiving.com/ )

 

Curacao:

 

Hans Pleij, at CURious2Dive will take care of you here.  Again it's shore diving, and I've never had a group bigger than three people.  He'll provide port pick-up and return, and the prices are very reasonable.  Nitrox is available at an extra charge.  There are many great sites in the Director's Bay area, including the Tugboat dive.  ( http://www.curious2dive.com/ )

 

Harris

Denver, CO

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Thank you for the detailed information, Harris!  I had been leaning towards St Kitts or Aruba so this is very helpful.

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Posted (edited)

I dived with Happy Divers in Aruba. I was happy with them. The Antilla wreck is a good dive.

 

I used scubacao.com in Curacao  They will pick you up at the port.  Used them twice. Good experience both times.

 

Haven't dived in Bonaire but have been on the Woodwind twice. The Woodwind is very good for snorkeling.   I will dive in Bonaire the next time out.

Edited by mac66

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